Milestones approaching for Lienert-Brown and Savea

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Lienert-Brown said playing his 50th Test on his home Super Rugby ground at FMG Stadium Waikato made it special because it was in a region that had given a lot to him.


He said the elbow injury he had recovered from had become niggly during the latter stages of the Super Rugby season and while he could have played it hindered his training.


"It was one of those things I needed to get done at some stage and that was the time to get it done," he said.


Starting with David Havili inside him at second five-eighths is yet another mid-field partnership being tried this season, but the two had been mates since playing New Zealand Under-20 together.


"I've been super-impressed with him as a player. I've always thought he's been unlucky. He's a quality player and it's awesome to see him in this environment now. Last week he was one of the standout players for me. He really proved that he deserves to be here. I'm looking forward to going out there and partnering up with him," he said.


Savea said it was refreshing to be playing again after battling with his knee and he had been guilty of trying to rush his return, and it was a case of believing in the process.


He said he had found passion in the little things around the game: training again, and running around with his teammates.


It didn't matter that he would be playing on the openside flank, he said, the big thing was pulling on the All Blacks' jersey again.


"I'm just grateful to be named in the team and to run out, I'm stoked," he said.


The Fijians were fine athletes and physical competitors and had come firing at the All Blacks in the first Test. Savea said that was good for the All Blacks because they were also a physical team.


"We want to go out and stamp our mark as well. Pretty much their whole team is powerful and strong, but I back my boys too, and our boys are powerful too. It should be a good Test match," he said.



The quality Fiji had at the breakdown was all 15 of their players knew how to jackal and go over the ball. They got extremely low and were strong.


"For us, it's about the ball carriers doing their job there and our cleaners being in there and not giving the opportunity to be over the ball. If we can stop them from getting penalties or turnovers then it will help our game on the attack side," he said.


Savea said it was special being involved in playing the Pacific sides and seeing Manu Samoa playing the Maori All Blacks.


"What I take most out of the games is when we connect afterwards and see the lads changing jerseys and sharing a bit of kava after the game. I'm fond of the island nations and brothers and uplifting them. I know deep down if those teams are firing our game as a whole in the world becomes a spectacle and a lot more people want to watch that," he said.

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